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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE 

AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 



RED KIDNEY BEANS 
IN CALIFORNIA 

FRANCIS L. SMITH 



BULLETIN 669 

August, 1942 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Bed Kidney bean production areas in California 3 

The seed-bean trade 4 

Cultural practices 9 

Seed 9 

Planting time 9 

Planting rate 9 

Water 10 

Cultivation 10 

Harvesting 10 

Thresher damage 12 

Eecleaning beans 12 

Diseases and pests 12 

Selection work in the Eed Kidney variety 14 

Characteristics of the selection Eed Kidney 7811 17 

History of the selection Eed Kidney 7811 17 

Other kidney bean varieties 18 

Michigan Dark Eed Kidney 18 

White Kidney 20 

Summary 20 

Literature cited 21 



RED KIDNEY BEANS IN CALIFORNIA ' 

FRANCIS L. SMITH 3 

The Red Kidney bean has been grown commercially in California for 
many years. Along with the other common beans this is a variety of 
Phaseolus vulgaris. The exact date of its introduction is not known 
(9)*, but eastern seed catalogs listed it as early as 1857 (8). Since it 
is an old variety, there are now several selections with different charac- 
teristics. Judging from different types of Red Kidney — Wells, York, 
and Geneva (10), the California variety resembles Wells more closely 
than it does the other two. Wells originated from a selection made by 
Byron Bruce at Marion, New York, about 1904 and later distributed 
and named by John Q, Wells of Shortsville, New York (8). 

RED KIDNEY BEAN PRODUCTION AREAS IN CALIFORNIA 

California, producing about 12 per cent of the nation's Red Kidney 
beans, ranks a poor third to New York with 52 per cent of the national 
total, and Michigan with 33 per cent (6, 7, 11, 13). Table 1 gives the 
production for the years 1934—1941 for different areas in the state, to- 
gether with the total for California, New York, Michigan, and the United 
States. 

California has steadily increased its production of Red Kidney beans 
from 61,000 (100-pound) bags in 1934 to 180,000 in 1941. Obviously, 
then, this variety is expanding in acreage and may continue to do so. 

For convenience the agricultural statisticians have divided the state 
into eight areas, four of which produce Red Kidney beans : the Sacra- 
mento Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, the coast counties, and southern 
California. The latter two areas have been less important than the valley 
districts. The coast counties produce annually 5,000 to 11,400 bags, or 
an average of 6.0 per cent of the state's total. Southern California has 
produced 4,100 to 10,000 bags, or an average of 8.5 per cent of the state's 
production in the past eight years. Production there has now decreased 
slightly, whereas there was a sharp increase in the coastal district in 
1941. 

Between 1934 and 1940 the Sacramento Valley produced 27,000 to 
39,100 bags annually. In 1941 the production almost doubled to 53,600 
bags. 

1 Eeceived for publication April 13, 1942. 

2 Assistance in the breeding work reported herein was furnished by the personnel 
of Work Projects Administration, Official Project No. 265-1-08-80, Unit B-4. 

3 Assistant Agronomist in the Experiment Station. 

4 Italic numbers in parentheses refer to "Literature Cited" at the end of the 
bulletin. 

[3] 



4 University of California — Experiment Station 

In the San Joaquin Valley the figure for 1941 was over five times that 
for 1934. By 1936 this area surpassed the Sacramento Valley in pro- 
duction and has maintained the lead. By 1941 San Joaquin was pro- 
ducing over 60 per cent of the total for the state. This area may easily 
continue to maintain its dominance. 



TABLE 1 

Production of Eed Kidney Beans in California by Districts, and in 
New York, Michigan, and the United States 



Area 


Production in thousands of bags* 


1934 


1935 


1936 


1937 


1938 


1939 


1940 


1941 


Sacramento Valley 

San Joaquin Valley 

Coast counties 

Southern California 


27.0 
19 
5 
10 


30 
26.0 
5 
10 


31 5 

33.5 

5.5 

5.5 


36.9 

47.7 
8.2 
6.2 


39.1 

42.2 

6.0 

7.7 


19.1 

32.7 

3.1 

4.1 


29.7 
64.4 
4.1 

4.8 


53.6 

110.6 

11.4 

4.4 


Total for California .... 


61.0 


71.0 


76.0 


99 


95.0 


59.0 


103.0 


180.0 


New York 

Michigan 

Total for United States . 


327.0 
153.0 
563.0 


381.0 
167.0 
631.0 


413 
167.0 
675.0 


453.0 
225.0 
793.0 


565.0 
242.0 
923.0 


431 

257 
762.0 


373.0 
191.0 
683.0 


760.0 

194.0 

1,164.0 



* Bags of 100 pounds. 

The increased production is not limited to California. New York pro- 
duction for 1941 was over 2% times that of 1934, and the national 
total was doubled. 

Within the four general areas in California the Red Kidney bean is 
further restricted. In the Sacramento Valley this variety has done best 
in the bottom lands of the Feather, Yuba, and Sacramento rivers. The 
main crop is grown in Yuba and Sutter counties, with limited produc- 
tion around Vina in Tehama County. In the San Joaquin Valley, Red 
Kidneys are grown in the river-bottom lands rather than in the open 
valley and are limited largely to San Joaquin County. The Red Kidney 
beans from the coastal areas are grown largely near Watsonville and 

Salinas. 

THE SEED-BEAN TRADE 

The Red Kidney beans of California are largely sold as dry beans 
(14) , very few being canned or exported. 

An interesting specialized industry developed in the last few years 
lias been the production of certified disease-free seed for growers of Red 
Kidney beans in New York state (7). Although at present it uses only 
a small fraction of the total California crop, this industry has received 
much attention from the University of California College of Agricul- 
ture. A discussion, therefore, of its development seems appropriate. 



Bul. 669] K ED Kidney Beans in California 5 

Because of the rainless season during the growing period in California 
two serious bean diseases common in the East do not occur in this state 
even though Red Kidney is susceptible to both. One is a fungus disease, 
anthracnose, caused by Collet otrichum Imdemuthianum. The other is 
really several bacterial diseases, as described by Burkholder (5). These 
are the blight caused by Phytomonas phaseoli, the wilt caused by Phyto- 
monas flaecumfaciens, and the halo blight caused by Phytomonas medi- 
caginis var. phaseolicola. In addition Burkholder found the following 
pathogens destructive to the bean crop : Phytomonas phaseoli var. fus- 
cans, Phytomonas vignae var. leguminophila, and Phytomonas viridi- 
flava. These diseases, collectively known as bacterial blight, sometimes 
cause considerable damage in New York, Michigan, and other eastern 
as well as western states. Young (15) calculated the loss in yield of Wells 
Red Kidney at 89 per cent in 1927 for two important bean-producing 
counties in New York. As a preventive he recommended the use of 
blight-free California seed grown in the Sacramento Valley. 

California's position in disease-free seed production is very fortunate. 
The weather conditions, being unfavorable for the disease-producing 
organisms, have been far more important than the care taken to exclude 
the diseases. The bacteria are borne in the seed of infected plants and 
can begin a new infestation under favorable conditions. Eastern-grown 
seed has undoubtedly been planted here on numerous occasions, and no 
doubt the disease would be established now if the weather conditions 
had favored the growth of the bacteria. In 1939 the writer saw some 
fields of White Kidney planted from seed obtained from New York. 
Certain seedlings were diseased and soon died. From these, Phytomonas 
bacteria were isolated in the laboratory. The remaining plants, however, 
continued to grow, and no effects of blight were apparent 10 days later 
except a poor stand. 

For many years California Red Kidney beans, especially those grown 
near Marysville, enjoyed a reputation of being blight-free when planted 
in New York. In the latter part of the twenties, however, there were 
persistent complaints in New York about the poor quality of California 
beans. The California beans carried mixtures of other varieties, small 
beans, broken beans, bean straw, and other adulterations. This led many 
buyers to object because in New York seed beans are hand-picked. The 
seed was also reported to be infected with bacterial blight. 

Up to that time the interstate trade had been handled by brokers and 
dealers of dry beans. Since the seed was handled merely as commercial 
beans, no legal requirements for seed in interstate commerce could be 
enforced. In the absence of any restraint by law, commercial practices 
were indulged in, such as blending of lots from different localities. Blend- 



6 University of California — Experiment Station 

ing, though satisfactory in the dry-bean trade, is disastrous for seed, espe- 
cially when beans from a disease-free area are mixed with beans from 
regions infested with blight. 

By 1930 the California product was in such bad repute that New 
York growers were seeking other sources for their blight-free seed. 
Realizing the gravity of the situation, M. D. Collins, Farm Advisor of 
Yuba County, began working to reestablish a business of mutual bene- 
fit to Red Kidney bean growers on two sides of the continent. Although 
results as reported here emphasize the crop-improvement program, the 
author realizes that this work is only part of the many-sided problem 
of establishing and maintaining an industry. 

In 1930, at the request of Mr. Collins, a number of Red Kidney bean 
fields were surveyed in Yuba County. They contained a high percentage 
of viny and off-color types. Not all these forms were mechanical mixtures 
with other varieties; a number, grown in progeny rows in 1931, were 
found to be hybrids. The fields also had a high percentage of bean 
mosaic. Two selected fields were carefully rogued of all viny and dis- 
eased plants. The seed used to plant one of these fields was reputed to 
be the increase from Wells Red Kidney beans obtained from New York 
a few years earlier. Seed from this field was used as a foundation of 
"Simpson's Strain." The seed used to plant the other field was of un- 
determined origin and was propagated as "Kupser's Strain." After 
being grown for two years, it was abandoned in favor of Simpson's, 
which has maintained its identity for a decade. 

In 1931 and 1932 a tag was put inside each sack of beans shipped east, 
giving the grower's name and address and other information. That some 
of this seed reached New York is evident from letters received by Cali- 
fornia growers. The method of identification was not satisfactory, how- 
ever, because it did not prevent the seed from being blended with infected 
seed between the time it left California and reached New York ; several 
such cases were detected. To protect the identity of the seed, some certi- 
fication seemed necessary. There is an impartial agency, founded by 
several cooperating state and farm organizations, and known as the 
California Approved Seed Plan. The product thus certified is called 
Calapproved seed. It meets all legal requirements for certified seed in 
other states. The plan is sponsored primarily by the California State 
Seed Laboratory and the College of Agriculture. An executive secretary 
looks after the certification, and enforces the rules of procedure estab- 
lished for each crop. For Red Kidney beans the grower must apply for 
Calapproved seed before planting; further, he must plant it on land 
free from volunteer bean plants of other varieties. He pays 20 cents per 
acre for inspection service, tags, and seals. The crop receives inspection 



Bul. 669] r ed Kidney Beans in California 7 

twice during the season by a trained plant pathologist; once three weeks 
after planting and again during the blooming stage. The field must 
show less than 0.2 per cent of mosaic in the first inspection, less than 
2 per cent in the second, and must contain less than 0.1 per cent of other 
varieties. The beans must be threshed by a clean machine and sacked 
in bags stenciled with the grower's number. After harvesting, official 
samples of the seed must show less than 0.1 per cent foreign seed, less 
than 4 per cent inert matter and defective seed, and must germinate 
85 per cent. Seed that fails in any particular is immediately refused 
approval. Satisfactory seed is sacked in 100-pound bags bearing the 
stencil number, labeled with a certification tag, and sealed with a pat- 
ented metal seal. 

In 1933 one carload containing 400 bags of Calapproved Red Kidney 
bean seed was shipped directly from a Marysville grower to New York, 
where it made a favorable impression. Special precautions were taken 
to insure the purity by sealing each bag and the seals were on at the 
time of delivery. The Calapproved method of handling seed has gradu- 
ally gained the confidence of eastern growers. In 1934 and 1935, other 
carloads, each comprising 600 sealed bags of 100 pounds each, were 
marketed in the same way. The annual shipments of Red Kidney bean 
seed were 8 carloads in 1936, 8 in 1937, 20 in 1938, 12 in 1939, 20 in 1940, 
and 34 in 1941. 

Interested growers in Marysville formed a nonprofit cooperative in 
1939. The organization markets the beans but is not responsible for 
seed certification, which is still handled under the California Seed Plan. 
A similar cooperative was started in the San Joaquin Valley in 1940. 

As table 2 shows, the acreage of Red Kidney beans under Calapproval 
has increased from 250 in 1932 to 1,812 in 1941. 

The yields in New York have been estimated at 8.0 to 8.5 (100-pound) 
bags per acre (7). The 1941 crop of 760,000 bags was produced on 
an estimated 89,000 to 95,000 acres. Planting at 60 pounds per acre, 
53,500 to 57,000 bags of seed would be required. The production of Cal- 
approved seed in 1941 was 24,117 bags, or only 42 to 45 per cent of the 
amount needed to plant a similar crop in New York. This 1941 Califor- 
nia crop was considerably above the average. For a 500,000-bag crop, 
New York would require 35,300 to 37,500 bags of seed, whereas the 
present California production is enough for about two thirds that 
amount. Estimating the production at 12 bags per acre, California will 
need about 9,000 bags of seed to produce 180,000 bags for local use. In 
the future it is also possible that demand for this disease-free seed will 
develop in Michigan and other states. Obviously, then, the Calapproved 
seed industry has room for expansion. 



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Bul. 669] r ed Kidney Beans in California 9 

CULTURAL PRACTICES 

The areas of California suitable for Red Kidney beans have already 
been discussed. 

Seed. — Calapproved seed is recommended for efficient production. 
Having been produced under ideal conditions, it will give more reliable 
performance than other seed. It has successfully passed rigid tests for 
purity and freedom from disease, and has been tested for germination. 

Planting Time. — In the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys the 
beans should be planted between June 20 and July 10. If sown earlier, 
the plants will bloom in early August during severely hot dry weather, 
which causes the blossoms to drop off. Postponement of planting till the 
June 20 to July 10 period also prevents losses from wireworms, which 
recede into the soil as the top soil layer becomes heated. It minimizes 
trouble with rhizoctonia stem rot (Corticium vagum) and other organ- 
isms that cause damping-off; also injury from red-spider infestation. 
Usually, too, it results in larger beans. Planting later in July increases 
the hazards from fall rains ; this increases the harvesting costs and im- 
pairs the quality. Seeding in the coastal and southern areas may be made 
earlier than June 20. 

Beans are planted with two-, four-, or eight-row planters, using 
planter plates to fit the size of the seed. The row width is usually 28 to 30 
inches. If rows are spaced wider than 30 inches the soil is not completely 
utilized. 

Planting Bate. — The rate of planting depends on size of seed, width 
of row, and spacing within the row. Assuming 4-inch spacing in 28-inch 
rows, 56,000 seeds are required to plant an acre. The rate of planting- 
would then be determined by seed size, which can be measured as the 
number of seeds per ounce or per pound or as the weight of a given 
number. The weight method is used for investigations in California. 
For seed-size determination 100 beans taken from a sample are weighed 
in grams. This weight is the "index," from which one can easily calcu- 
late the number of seeds per ounce. Table 2 gives, by counties, the 
indexes of the Calapproved beans grown in 1941. These were obtained 
by taking the index of a sample from each grower and multiplying it 
by the number of bags produced; the sum of the products was then 
divided by the number of bags produced by the county. In 1941 the 
county indexes varied from 42.7 to 54.0, and the indexes on the samples 
varied from 37.8 to 55.2, or 824 to 1,200 beans per pound. To plant an 
acre, 60 pounds of seed would be required with an index of 48.8 — the 
state average of Calapproved beans in 1941. With small seed having an 
index of 40, the planting rate would be 51 pounds per acre, and using 



10 University of California — Experiment Station 

large seed with an index of 55, the rate of planting would be 71 pounds 
per acre. The average planting rate used by commercial growers is 
about 60 pounds per acre, ranging from 50 to 70 pounds. 

Water. — Many acres of Red Kidney beans in Yuba County are grown 
on acres flooded by the Feather River during the winter and spring 
and are not otherwise irrigated. Beans grown under irrigation are 
usually watered by the furrow method. Other methods of applying water 
are : flooding between ridges 20 to 25 feet apart, sprinkling with an 
overhead removable sprinkling or rain machine, and subirrigation, 
wherein the height of the water table can be regulated by water in spaced 
subirrigation ditches. 

Besides keeping the plants growing thriftily, abundant moisture 
repels the red spider, which may become serious on plants suffering for 
water. Irrigation can be overdone, however, especially after blooming. 
If the plants are large enough to cover the soil surface completely, con- 
ditions are ideal for rapid growth of the cottony mold fungus (Sclero- 
tinia sclerotiornm) , which parasitizes the plants and kills them pre- 
maturely. Control of this disease is best accomplished by keeping the 
soil surface around the plants dry in the latter stages of growth. 

Cultivation. — Cultivation is intended mainly to keep down weed 
growth. Besides competing for water and nutrients, some weeds are 
harmful in other ways. The ground cherry (Physalis puoescens) , for 
example, stains the beans in threshing and delays drying of the beans. 
The fruits of this weed, in threshed beans, are crushed in handling ; and, 
being green, they dampen the beans which come into contact with them. 
The areas on the seed coat swell and later dry out. The expanded seed 
coat, however, does not shrink but forms folds and wrinkles on the areas 
affected. This condition is often interpreted as rain damage. 

Harvesting. — Red Kidney beans lose their foliage while ripening. 
To preserve the seed color the plants should be harvested before too 
many leaves are lost, for leaves protect the pods from the sun. R^d 
Kidney beans turn brown when subjected to sunshine for any extended 
period. Sunburning detracts from the appearance of the seed. The beans 
are ready to cut when they begin to show red color on the seed coat. 

Beans are harvested with two- or four-row bean cutters, whose blades 
cut through the soil an inch or two under the surface. After cutting, the 
beans are piled in windrows to cure, four to six rows per windrow. They 
are threshed with machines having pickup arrangements that feed the 
plants through in a continuous ribbon as the machine is moved along 
the windrow (fig. 2). 

Since emphasis is on seed production, more attention is being paid to 
thresher damage. The Agricultural Engineering staff of the University 



Bul. 669] 



Red Kidney Beans in California 



11 



made a study of bean threshers and found that the cylinder- type thresher 
could not be run slowly enough to eliminate the damage (1). They de- 
signed a thresher model (2, 3) in which the beans were removed from 
the pods by going between three sets of rubber rolls. This device re- 











' 1 






fete* 41 






; 





Fig. 1. — Bubber-roller threshing machine at work. There are two windrows 
of unthreshed beans in the foreground. 















& 


■^tifflB3E^mS& f & 





Fig. 2.- 



-Front view of rubber-roller threshing machine, showing the 
pickup arrangement. • 



dueed cracking to almost nothing. Several similar commercial machines 
have been made by a harvester company, and one has been used in the 
Marysville district for three years. In these machines the beans pass 
between two sets of rubber rolls, the third set being a cylinder that takes 
out the few beans left in the pods. It also tears up the straw so that the 
latter is more evenly scattered on the ground. Figures 1 and 2 give 
different views of a commercial rubber-roller threshing machine. 



12 University of California — Experiment Station 

Thresher Damage. — Thresher damage is serious when beans are used 
for seed. In interstate commerce, soundness is even more important be- 
cause the shipper must state the germination percentage on the tag. 
Rough handling is evidenced by cracked and broken beans. If the in- 
jured beans could be removed by hand-picking, the problem would be 
fairly simple. But much of the injury cannot be discovered until the 
beans are germinated. The damage then appears as a high percentage of 
beans with damaged embryos or "baldheads" (4), which are not counted 
as germinated beans in official tests. Every year, part of the crop is re- 
jected because of low germination. Figure 3, F, shows the bean cotyledon 
and the young embryo, which is located so near the end of the bean as to 
be highly vulnerable to mechanical injury. 

Figure 3, A to E, shows several types of seed injury. The photograph 
was taken in the State Seed Laboratory from a sample submitted for 
test. The three beans on the left were so badly damaged that they would 
not emerge in the field. A typical "baldhead" is shown at D. Only the 
plumule is injured but it fails to expand. Such seedlings are not counted 
as germinated in official tests because most of them will die and those 
which survive would have to put out new leaves from the growing point 
and would be considerably later and weaker than the normal seedling, 
shown in figure 3, E. 

The rubber-roller thresher is the most effective device for preventing 
thresher injury. 

Recleaning Beans. — While on the subject of seed damage we may well 
emphasize the injury arising from recleaning. Beans taken from the 
field run often have a higher germination than the samples of the same 
seed after recleaning. This recleaning injury is clearly shown even when 
thresher damage has been almost entirely eliminated by rubber rollers 
(3) . In the future more emphasis must be laid on reducing the recleaning 
damage in warehouses preparing bean seed for market. 

Diseases and Pests. 5 — Rotting of seed is caused by various organisms 
that attack and kill the seedlings emerging from the soil. The result is 
poor stands. If Red Kidney beans are planted at the proper time, much 
of this damage, associated with cold, wet soil, is eliminated. 

Cottony rot is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. It may 
be serious on Red Kidney beans if they are irrigated late and if the 
growth is so rank that the ground does not dry around the plants. The 
most effective way of avoiding the disease is to keep the soil surface dry 

5 More detailed discussion of diseases and insects affecting beans may be found in 
the following publications : 

Essig, E. O., and W. M. Hoskins. Insects and other pests attacking agricultural 
crops. California Agr. Ext. Cir. 87:1-155. 1934. 

Smith, Ealph E. Diseases of truck crops. California Agr. Ext. Cir. 119:1-112. 1910. 




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14 University of California — Experiment Station 

during the latter part of the season. To accomplish this, lighter rates of 
planting may be necessary in rich soil. After the pods are formed, irriga- 
tions should be avoided where the plant growth is sufficient to shade all 
the surface. 

Of the numerous legume virus diseases, the bean virus causing mosaic 
is the main one affecting Red Kidney. Since primary infection is through 
the seed, the infected plants must be kept to a minimum to reduce trans- 
mission the following season. In addition, various insect vectors spread 
the disease in the field. In infected plants the leaves are cupped down- 
ward and have a mottled appearance. Often the leaves appear thick 
and leathery. The base of each leaflet is usually attenuated. The general 
effect is reduced yield and delayed maturity. A breeding program now 
under way is designed to introduce mosaic resistance into the variety. 

Powdery mildew, caused by the fungus Erysiphe polygoni, rarely 
occurs in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. It may be important 
near the coast. Sulfur dusting offers an effective control. 

Red spider and thrips may become severe on beans grown without 
irrigation. Under those conditions the plants can be dusted with flowers 
of sulfur. This precaution, however, must be taken before the spider 
population is large, because the sulfur is a repellent rather than a 
preventive. 

SELECTION WORK IN THE RED KIDNEY VARIETY 

Red Kidney beans, often called Western Red Kidney, have been 
studied in Yuba County for eight years. The first object was to purify 
the variety, and then make selections having valuable characteristics, 
such as earliness, uniformity, high yield, and conformity to type de- 
manded by the market. In 1933 and 1934, test plots were made of several 
strains obtained from different sources. In the fall of 1934 new plant 
selections were made in different fields of Red Kidney. These were 
grown in 1935 in plant-to-row tests, which included 199 selections from 
Simpson's Strain, 97 from Geneva Red Kidney, and 101 from York Red 
Kidney. Every tenth row was planted with bulk seed from Simpson's 
Strain. Notes were taken on the progeny rows ; inferior ones were dis- 
carded. The others were harvested ; and on the basis of yield, size, color, 
and conformity of seed, some were chosen. In 1936 the selections were 
replicated three or four times in the plots. Tests were conducted on 34 
selections of Simpson's Strain, 12 of Geneva Red Kidney, and 11 of 
York Red Kidney. In addition, 22 selections were tested from Dark Red 
Kidney, White Kidney, and some hybrids between Red Kidney and 
Nagazura, a Japanese variety with large red-mottled seed on a buff 
background. The crosses were made in connection with a study of in- 



Bul. 669] r ed Kidney Beans in California 15 

heritance of seed-coat color (12). In the breeding nursery at Berkeley 
some self-colored red segregates showed promise, having larger seed than 
the Red Kidney parent. In 1936 a number of them were planted in test 
plots at Marysville. The results showed that some of the selections had 
no merit in comparison with the commercial Red Kidney, and these 
were dropped. Next, 26 selections were tested in 1937, each being repli- 
cated six times. Only 1 of Geneva and 1 of York survived the competition. 
From the 199 plant selections made in 1934 from Simpson's Strain, only 
12 remained. In addition 5 selections from Wells Red Kidney, 1 from 
Dark Red Kidney, 1 from Maui Red Kidney, 2 from White Kidney, and 
3 hybrids involving Red Kidney were tested in 1937. Table 3 lists briefly 
the selections tested at Marysville, with their yield data. 

Of the 26 selections tested in 1937, only 12 showed some merit. The 
seed not used in the yield-test plots was planted in increase plots, the 
purpose being to increase the worthy selections while the tests were 
being made; then, when one was finally chosen, there would be enough 
seed on hand to make a good start in its distribution. This propagation 
work was done by the grower on whose land the yield tests were con- 
ducted. The work required care in harvesting to prevent mixing. Each 
selection was harvested and stored separately ; and when one was con- 
sidered inferior, that lot was taken out, the tag destroyed, and the seed 
sold as commercial beans. Only 7 selections survived the competition in 
1937 for the tests in 1938. Each was replicated eight times. The 7 in- 
cluded 1 Geneva Red Kidney, 2 Simpson's Strain, 2 hybrids, and 1 
Maui. In that year Michigan Dark Red Kidney was added to the test, 
making 8 selections in all. 

In 1938 other tests were made — one near the town of Clements and 
one on Union Island, both in San Joaquin County ; the object was to 
determine the effect of diverse local conditions. Results were also ob- 
tained that year from the same selections tested by the New York Agri- 
cultural Experiment Station at Ithaca. Table 4 gives the data. 

Judging from the data on the selection work summarized in tables 3 
and 4, selection 7811 was the best. It had a consistently high yield record, 
together with larger seed than the commercial Red Kidney. 

The other selections listed in tables 3 and 4 were discarded for various 
reasons. Red Kidney 7812, a large-seeded selection from the cross Naga- 
zura X Red Kidney, was discarded because the beans were too large 
and flat. Maui Red Kidney 7815, a high-yielding selection of Dark Red 
Kidney obtained from Hawaii, was too late to be of value ; and the seed 
coat was too dark for the Red Kidney variety as known commercially. 
Michigan Dark Red Kidney 8099, obtained from Michigan State College 
in 1938, will be discussed later. Simpson's Strain Selection 7803, one of 






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Bul. 669] r ed Kidney Beans in California 17 

the better selections, nevertheless gave way in competition to 7811, 
which was earlier, yielded more, and had larger seed. Geneva Red Kid- 
ney 7795 was considered the best selection in that variety. It was dropped 
in 1938 because other selections from Simpson's Strain and certain 
hybrids appeared to be superior to it. Simpson's Strain Selection 7799, 
despite a very good record, was retired in preference to 7811, which had 
equal yield and larger seed. York Red Kidney 7796 fell out of competi- 
tion in 1937. Wells Red Kidney 4989 never obtained the uniformity or 
productive ability of 7811 and was therefore discarded. 







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Fig. 4, — Field of the variety Bed Kidney 7811, Marysville, 1940. 

Characteristics of the Selection Bed Kidney 7811. — Red Kidney 7811 
was a hybrid, Nagazura X Red Kidney, which had been back-crossed to 
Red Kidney. It has two characteristics from the Nagazura parent : large 
seed and red-blotched pod. The blotching is evanescent, not showing 
until the pods are ripe and disappearing in a few days after the pods 
are hard. It is a good varietal distinguishing characteristic in the field. 
The selection is more uniform in size and does not have so many long, 
drooping, easily broken basal branches as the commercial Red Kidney. 
It is slightly earlier and more uniform in maturity. Its high-yielding 
capacity has been shown in several areas of California and it has also 
given high-yield records in New York State, as indicated in tables 3 
and 4. 

History of the Selection Bed Kidney 7811. — The rapid rise of Red 
Kidney 7811 from a single seed to an important variety is shown by the 
following historical account. In 1931 a plant, with mottled seed, from 
the cross Nagazura X Red Kidney was crossed with Red Kidney. Five 
seeds developed in the pod. The cross was given the number 31.078. The 



18 



University of California — Experiment Station 



five seeds were planted the following year in row 35(120)32, and 
five Fj plants were grown. The second plant was grown in 1933 in row 
39(149)33, and the F 2 population consisted of 20 mottled and 19 self- 
colored plants. Only 3 were saved. One of the plants saved from this 
row was planted in 1934 in an F 3 progeny row 209(328)34 and bred 
true for red, from which 59 plants were harvested in bulk. In 1935 the 
seed was not used, but in 1936 it served to plant four replications in yield 
tests at Marysville. After the tests the promising selections were given 
accession numbers; this selection has been known, ever since, as 7811. In 

TABLE 5 
Production of the Selection of Bed Kidney 7811, 1937-1941 



Year 


Production in 


bags in the counties given* 


Total 
bags 


Per cent of 
the certified 


Yuba 


Sutter 


San Joaquin 


Red Kidney 
production 


1937 

1938 

1939 


5 

120 

976 

2,731 

6,807 


783 
667 


7,157 


5 

120 

976 

3,514 

14,631 


0.08 
0.06 

13.21 


1940 


25.70 


1941 


60.67 


1942 (expected) 


100 00 







of 100 pounds. 



1937 there were six replications of the selection in the plots. The seed 
not used in the plots was increased, and 498 pounds was harvested. 
From the five bags the variety began to spread (table 5). By 1941 over 
60 per cent of the beans grown for Calapproval was increase from the 
cross made ten years earlier. The table takes into consideration only the 
beans that traced directly back to the original source. This selection has 
been grown by several California farmers who did not take the trouble 
of preserving its identity. In addition, shipments have been made to 
New York since 1939 : about 2,400 bags or 4 carloads of this selection 
were sold there in 1940 (fig. 4) ; and in 1941 a large proportion of the 
seed shipped east was Ked Kidney 7811. In 1942 this will be the only 
variety approved for pure seed; and although the old variety will linger, 
the new one will probably largely replace it soon even in fields devoted to 
dry beans. The variety has been readily accepted in New York, where 
its yields have also been superior (table 4) . 

OTHER KIDNEY BEAN VARIETIES 

Michigan Dark Red Kidney. — Dark Red Kidney, also known as Ma- 
hogany Red, is grown largely in Michigan. Collins and his associates 
(7) presented production figures on Red Kidneys there for 1929-1938 



Bul. 669] 



Red Kidney Beans in California 



19 



inclusive ; the annual production varied from 50 to 182 thousand bags, 
with an average of 118 thousand, comprising 62 per cent of the total 
Red Kidney crop in that state. 

In California the variety has not been important, although canners 
are beginning to appreciate its qualities as a salad bean. In 1938 it was 
subjected to yield and cooking tests to see whether locally grown beans 
could be supplied to California canners, who usually import the variety 



TABLE 6 

Comparative Yields of Michigan Dark Red Kidney and Red Kidney 7811 

in Pounds per Acre, 1938-1941* 



Variety 


Acces- 
sion 
no. 


Marysville 


Clements 


Sutter 
Basin 




1938 


1939 


1940 


1941 


1939 


1940 


1940 


Red Kidney 

Michigan Dark Red 

Kidney 

Per cent yield of Michigan 

Dark Red Kidney based 


7811 
8099 


2.569 
2,331 

S7 


1,880 
1,929 

103 


2,202 
l,404f 

64 


2,420 
2,247 

93 


2,836 
2,706 

95 


2,360 
2,279 

97 


2,117 
l,899f 

90 







* Cooperating growers: Marysville, Otto Speckert; Clements, L. A. Rozzoni;' Sutter Basin, W. J. 
Duffy, Jr. 

t Significant differences. 

from Michigan. Another market outlet could be developed by supplying 
disease-free seed for Michigan growers. 

Table 6 summarizes the yield-test results. On the average the yield 
has been 90 per cent of that of Red Kidney 7811. The variety has been 
grown experimentally in several places in the state. The beans harvested, 
identified only by numbers, were submitted to the canners for testing. 
The results indicated that beans from Vina, Marysville, Sutter Basin, 
Stockton, and Hollister were usually acceptable. Samples from Davis 
and Berkeley were not uniform, and those from southern California 
failed to meet the canners' requirements. 

A small increase of seed from Michigan Dark Red Kidney was made at 
Marysville in 1939. Most of the 40 bags were sold in the East. In 1940 
another small increase was made on the University Farm at Davis for 
foundation seed, and in 1941 this was grown commercially in three 
counties. The total production was 766 bags, distributed as follows : 
Yuba County, 448 ; Sutter, 168 ; San Joaquin, 150. Much of the 1941 
crop was readily sold to the canners. 

Some canners independently shipped in Dark Red Kidney beans to 
supply their growers. The results were somewhat discouraging because 
the seed thus purchased contained a mixture of hybrids and other off- 



20 University of California — Experiment Station 

type beans, which on cooking did not retain the desired rich dark-red 
color; these off-color types are called "faders." Calapproved seed is free 
from this difficulty and also from thresher injury, which causes cracked 
beans. Canners will therefore do well to require Calapproved seed. 

White Kidney. — To complete the discussion of kidney beans as a type, 
mention is made here of the variety White Kidney. Preliminary tests 
have been made on 167 single-plant selections made in a field of this 
variety in 1939. The use of this variety will probably be limited to a 
relatively small acreage devoted to disease-free seed production for 
eastern growers. For this purpose, superior strains are expected to be 
isolated from the present variety. 

SUMMARY 

Red Kidney bean production in California is discussed, special em- 
phasis being placed on improvement of types. Except for brief mention 
of two relatively minor varieties, Michigan Dark Red Kidney and White 
Kidney, the main emphasis is on the major variety known as Red or 
Western Red Kidney. 

California produces only about 12 per cent of the national total for 
the Red Kidney variety ; the influence on the industry, however, is far 
greater than this production would indicate, because California fur- 
nishes seed for New York, the nation's greatest Red Kidney producing 
state. 

The production of Red Kidney beans in California is restricted largely 
to the river-bottom soils of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. 
These and other areas are discussed. 

The growing of seed beans is discussed at some length ; but most of 
the findings that apply to good seed production can be utilized by 
growers of market beans. 

Cultural methods common in the growing of Red Kidney beans are 
described. Emphasis is upon seed injury during threshing and reclean- 
ing and upon its importance in seed production. The vulnerability of the 
bean embryo to injury is shown in words and pictures. Since causes of 
injury have been found and preventives devised for mechanical injury 
in threshing, this operation is given considerable emphasis. 

Experiments are described through which was isolated a superior 
strain known as Red Kidney 7811. Its pedigree, yield, and rise to domi- 
nance in California are given in detail. 



Bul. 669] Red Kidney Beans in California 21 

LITERATURE CITED 

1. Bainer, Roy, and H. A. Borthwiok. 

1934. Thresher and other mechanical injury to seed beans of the lima type. 
California Agr. Exp. Sta. Bui. 580:1-30. 

2. Bainer, Roy, and J. S. Winters. 

1937. New principle in threshing lima bean seed. Agr. Engin. 18(5) : 205-6. 

3. Bainer, Roy, and J. S. Winters. 

1938. Results of tests of a rubber roller seed bean thresher. Agr. Engin. 19(6) : 
251-52. 

4. Borthwick, H. A. 

1932. Thresher injury a cause of baldhead in beans. Jour. Agr. Res. 44:503-10. 

5. BURKHOLDER, W. H. 

1930. The bacterial diseases of the bean. A comparative study. New York 
(Cornell) Agr. Exp. Sta. Mem. 127:1-88. 

6. California Cooperative Crop Reporting Service. 

1940. Dry edible bean production by varieties for California and for other 
leading states. California State Dept. Agr. Coop. Crop Reporting Service. 
1 p. (Mimeo.) 

7. Collins, M. D., D. M. Holmberg, J. B. Schneider, and G. B. Alcorn. 

1939. Red Kidney beans. California Agr. Ext. Service. 14 p. (Mimeo.) 

8. Hedrick, U. P., W. T. Tapley, G. P. Van Eseltine, and W. D. Enzie. 

1931. Vegetables of New York. Vol. 1, Part II. Beans of New York. New York 
State (Geneva) Agr. Exp. Sta. 110 p. 

9. Hendry, G. W. 

1918. Bean culture in California. California Agr. Exp Sta. Bui. 294 : 1-70. 
Revised June, 1921. 

10. Gloyer, W. O. 

1928. Two new varieties of Red Kidney bean : Geneva and York. New York 
State (Geneva) Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bui. 145:1-51. 

11. Scott, G. A., and L. M. Clark. 

1941. Bean production by varieties for California and for other leading states. 
California State Dept. Agr. Coop. Crop Reporting Service. 1 p. (Mimeo.) 

12. Smith, Francis L. 

1939. A genetic analysis of red seed-coat color in Pliaseolus vulgaris. Hilgardia 
12(9):551-621. 

13. United States Department of Agriculture. 

1941. Agricultural statistics, 1941. 731 p. U. S. Dept, Agr. 

14. Wellman, H. R., and E. W. Braun. 

1927. Beans (Series on California Crops and Prices). California Agr. Exp. Sta. 
Bui. 444:1-62. 

15. Young, H. N. 

1931. Production and marketing of field beans in New York. New York (Cor- 
nell) Agr. Exp. Sta. Bui. 532:1-203. 

15m-8,'42(2108)